Officials condemned a militant shootout that killed dozens of police troops on Friday on the outskirts of Giza governorate. The incident was reported by international media amid the lack of official information on the exact number of deaths or measures to follow until the time of print.
Statements in support of the government came from foreign embassies in Egypt. The German embassy in Cairo quickly issued a statement in solidarity with the Egyptian people in their fight against terrorism. “There is no justification for such a violent act,” it said.
UK Ambassador to Egypt John Casson paid his condolences to the victims. “The UK ad Egypt stand together in facing this evil, and we believe the world is capable of overpowering terrorism,” he tweeted on Friday night.
EU Ambassador to Egypt Ivan Surkos also tweeted, “Deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in Wahat defending the country against terrorism. EU stands with Egypt.”
Jordan announced a state mourning. On Saturday, the Royal Hashemite Court said that “the flag at its main entrance will be flown at half-staff in memory of the Egyptian police officers who were killed in a skirmish with armed terrorists in Giza governorate’s Wahat area on Friday.”
The Arab League published a statement carrying a condemnation message form Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit. The league’s official spokesperson said the attack reflects the terrorist threats that face Arab societies, calling for action to face the development of militant group operations and their ability to cross borders and possess high-quality weapons.
This came among other Arab countries’ reactions. Saudi Arabia condemned the incident and affirmed that its position is aligned with Egypt’s against terrorism, Al-Ekhbariya reported on Friday.
Bahrain, too, showed solidarity with Egypt. A statement by its Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it “reaffirms the firm position of the Kingdom of Bahrain, which renounces terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, whatever its motives and justifications, and calls for strengthening international efforts to confront and eliminate this dangerous phenomenon.”
Egyptian institutions issued similar statements. The Cabinet’s statement came on Saturday also to offer condolences to the victims and decry crimes of terrorist groups towards all citizens. “We are only more determined to continue facing terrorism and extremism as well as pursue development,” Prime Minister Sherif Ismail stated.
The Coptic Orthodox Church, led by Pope Tawadros II, mourned the victims and expressed solidarity with state institutions in the fight against terrorism. “We will always support the efforts and sacrifices of the armed forces and the police,” the church said on Friday.
The National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) further expressed support for the victims’ families and the injured policemen, asserting that Egypt stands still in face of terrorism.
Public figures and politicians also reacted to the incident. “My heart is breaking,” tweeted business tycoon Naguib Sawiris. He added that “we should be thinking of bringing back the right of our martyrs and the feelings of their families, improving our performance, and holding accountable the negligent.”
Social media was stormed with citizens’ opinions condemning the attack, but also questioning the effectiveness of security measures and demanding to know if police troops were betrayed by inside sources.
These arguments were widely reflected in users’ comments on Facebook in response to the Ministry of Interior’s published statement, which came hours after the incident was reported and without details on the number of deaths.
Well-known lawyer Khaled Abou Bakr tweeted that “there is a difference between patriotism and competency.”
As for political parties, the pro-state Free Egyptians Party’s president, Essam Khalil, and other members mourned the victims.
Khalil said that such militant operations are supported by states and intelligence bodies working against Egypt, especially “to ruin the happiness of the people ahead of the country’s achievements,” such as the opening of the New El Alamein City, which was scheduled for Saturday, and the upcoming November International Youth Conference.
Meanwhile, the opposition Bread and Freedom Party issued a statement mourning the policemen who were killed “in a long and scary battle with an armed terrorist group.”
The party argued that those groups must be defeated but that the state cannot do so as long as terrorist charges are used against peaceful political movements and youth and without transparency and with no real accountability of officials.